On January 11, Aurora City Council voted to repeal the ban on pit bull breeds in the city. Now, on February 16, 30 days after the vote, these loveable mutts will be allowed to legally reside in Aurora.
Like most good policy, Aurora’s repeal didn’t happen overnight. Councilmember Allison Hiltz led a multi-year effort to push the issue forward, including outreach and polling in the community by Aurora Animal Services. The results were clear, and Aurora City Council members voted 7-3 in support of the repeal.
The repeal was the final step in a longer-term effort to modernize Aurora’s animal laws. Earlier last year, City Council voted to update their animal code, including putting in place a new dangerous dog ordinance that applies to all breeds.
The Dumb Friends League applauded this change, as we support breed-neutral, proactive laws that protect the community from dangerous dogs by holding pet owners responsible for the actions of their pets. Laws aimed at punishing the owner of the dog, rather than punishing the dog, have been shown to be far more effective in reducing instances of dog bites and attacks. The prohibition on pit bull ownership in Aurora was implemented with the goal of keeping people safe from dangerous dogs. However, we believe that comprehensive, well-enforced, breed-neutral laws ultimately keep communities safer than banning a particular breed.
At the League, we have a team of eight full-time behavior specialists, and they evaluate every dog that shows signs of aggression or fear, provide appropriate behavior modification, and only place dogs up for adoption when they don’t pose a known unacceptable risk to the safety of our community. We have many social and well-behaved pit bulls that fall into this category at our shelters on any given day. We also have many patrons looking for a family dog who would gladly give one of these well-behaved pit bulls a good home. But when a breed ban is in place, they cannot adopt this family pet, and thus these dogs stay kenneled in our shelter much longer than other breeds.
We know pit bulls want to be loved—and deserve a home—just like every other pet. We are grateful for the leadership of Councilmember Hiltz and to the Aurora City Council for helping us provide more opportunities for homeless pups. And, we look forward to celebrating with the Aurora families who find a new forever friend regardless of breed – it would be a “pittie” not to.
For more information on adopting a pit bull or any other pup, please visit our website at www.ddfl.org.
Apryl Steele is the president and CEO of the Dumb Friends League